Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 10: Hallowe'en


Simplified Chinese (China)
Wànshèng-jié qiányè
万圣节 wànshèng-jié = 'ten-thousand saints festival' = 'all-saints day'.
前夜 qiányè = 'previous night'.
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Wànshèng-jié jīnghún
萬聖節 wànshèng-jié = 'ten-thousand saints festival'.
驚魂 jīnghún = 'shock-the-soul' = 'fear, shock, horror'.
Halloween Horror
ハロウィーン Harowiin = 'Halloween'. Halloween
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Lễ hội ma Haloween lễ hội (禮會?) = 'festival'.
ma () = 'ghost'.
Haloween (pronunciation: Ha-lô-guyn).
Halloween Ghost Festival
Mongolian (previous)
Халлоуны баяр
Khallounii bayar
Халлоун khalloun = 'Halloween'. (Genitive form Халлоуны khallounii 'of Halloween'.)
баяр bayar = 'festival'.
Halloween Festival
Mongolian (new)
Хэллоуин khellouin = 'Halloween'.

Halloween is becoming a world-wide event. The translation used is a barometer of how familiar Halloween is in each culture.

In Japan Halloween is already well known under its English name, ハロウィーン Harowiin in Japanese transcription.

In Chinese cities it's becoming popular for hotels and bars to celebrate American-style Halloween as 萬聖節 / 万圣节 wànshèng-jié 'ten-thousand holy festival', a literal translation of 'All Saints Festival' or 'All Hallows'. This naming is not totally accurate because 'Hallowe'en' is actually the day before All Saints' Day, which in Chinese would be 万圣节前夜 Wànshèng-jié qiányè 'All Saints Day Previous Night'. Hallowe'en in China is sometimes also called 鬼節 / 鬼节 guǐjié 'ghosts' festival' in Chinese, borrowing the name of a traditional Chinese festival of a similar nature. (For more on the background of Western Halloween, see here.)

The Mainland translator, who depends mainly on dictionaries, is scrupulously accurate, translating Halloween as 'All Saints Eve'. The Taiwanese translator follows the less accurate but more popular usage, translating Halloween as 萬聖節 wànshèng-jié ('All Saints' Festival').

The Taiwanese translator also dramatises the title, changing it into 'Halloween Horror'. The word 驚魂 / 惊魂 jīnghún 'fear, shock, horror' is apt to be used in newspaper headlines precisely where sensationalist English-language newspapers would use 'shock', 'horror', or 'nightmare'. 驚魂 jīnghún is also common in movie titles, the classic example being Psycho, generally known in Chinese as 驚魂記 / 惊魂记 Jīnghún-jì ('Chronicle of Fear').

The Vietnamese translator uses the English word 'Haloween' but feels obliged to explain to readers that it is the 'ghosts' festival'. (The pronunciation Ha-lô-guyn is not actually footnoted until Book 2. The 'g' is a rough throaty sound, not an English 'g').

Halloween is a relatively recent arrival in Mongolia. The older translation is phonetically inaccurate and adds the explanation that it is a festival. The newer translation is more phonetically accurate and similar to the Russian name, Хеллоуин kh'ellouin.

(A summary of this chapter can be found at Harry Potter Facts. Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

Chapter 9
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